CASES Implements Pre-Trial Alternative to Bail and Detention

In early 2016, CASES was selected by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice to implement Manhattan Supervised Release in New York County Criminal Court.

This program, which accepted its first participants in March 2016, draws upon and extends CASES’ long history of providing alternatives to detention and incarceration. Many people pass through New York City’s court system each year who are at low-risk for recidivism or flight but remain indefinitely detained because they cannot afford monetary bail. The resulting detention can disrupt important activities (e.g., education, employment, and family responsibilities) while potentially aggravating mental and physical health problems—increasing a person’s potential for future justice-involvement.

Since beginning services last spring, Manhattan Supervised Release has received a high level of demand. At the end of summer 2016, the program had enrolled 216 clients. To ensure these low-risk individuals avoid unnecessary pretrial detention, CASES’ Manhattan Supervised Release provides an alternative to bail that includes risk and need assessment, community supervision, and linkages to needed services in the community. Our staff work with court stakeholders to identify defendants appropriate for the program and evaluate their risks and needs. Guided by this assessment, staff provide referrals to support and treatment at providers in the community. By diverting low-risk pretrial defendants–many of who face charges that have a significant chance of being dismissed or resulting in non-incarcerative sentences–CASES is reducing the immense human and financial costs of pretrial detention.

For more on CASES’ Manhattan Supervised Release, visit its program page. To learn more about the citywide implementation of Supervised Release and its support from the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, please read NPR’s feature on the City’s attempt to reduce detention time of non-violent defendants.